On October 22nd 2018, the Kofan people of Sinangoe in the Ecuadorian Amazon won a landmark legal battle to protect the headwaters of the Aguarico River, one of Ecuador’s largest and most important rivers, and nullify 52 mining concessions that had been granted by the government in violation of the Kofan’s right to consent, freeing up more than 32, 000 hectares of primary rainforest from the devastating environmental and cultural impact of gold mining. This precedent-setting decision will inspire indigenous nations across the Amazon and land defenders worldwide for years to come.
The Kofan people of Sinangoe, with the support of Amazon Frontlines and the Ceibo Alliance, have been successful in forcing the Ecuadorian government to cancel all mining concessions on and around their ancestral land, a groundbreaking victory for indigenous rights in Ecuador.
In a historic ruling, the Provincial Court accepted evidence of environmental impacts provided by the community of Sinangoe and the provincial ombudsman, charged the government with not having consulted the Kofan, denounced the mining operations for having violated indigenous rights to water, food and a healthy environment, and cancelled all mining activity in more than 52 concessions at the foothills of the Andes. The ruling, which cites the precautionary principle and uses Ecuador’s new law on the rights of nature, also forces authorities to set in place restoration measures in an area that had been already heavily impacted by the mining operations.
Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines are our allies in the All eyes in the Amazon program. This victory is a huge inspiration for all who fight against deforestation and for land rights, in the Amazon and worldwide.